On “Dia de la Raza” thinking again about the protection of cultural heritage in the fashion industry

Image by inno kurnia from Pixabay
Image by inno kurnia from Pixabay
  • Since 2013, the Kaqchikel Maya community has also embarked on a wide campaign to raise recognition and awareness about their traditional designs associated with their history, art, and cultural expressions. Meanwhile, the Navajo Nation has also made important efforts to protect the use of their prints and designs in clothing and western accessories. Unlike other non-U.S. tribes, the Navajo community relies on federal laws like the Lanham Act and the Arts and Craft Act. [5]
  • In 2015, a controversy regarding copyright laws and the misappropriation of designs “inspired” by Mexican elements arose between Isabel Marant and the French brand Antik Batik. In this case, a French court not only denied the petitions of the plaintiff, but the court also stated that the designs used to created Ms. Marant’s Spring/Summer collection were owned by the People of Oaxaca, Mexico. [6]
  • In April of this year, a new controversy arose as to the rights in designs of clothing sold by the well know website MyTheresa. According to the Sealaska Heritage Institute Inc. plaintiff in this action filed in a federal court in Alaska, the goods sold by MyTheresa run afoul of the law. The website sells infringing goods that infringe copyright laws and misappropriate the patterns and designs historically associated with Native American committees. [7]
  • Procurement of legal counsel to register artworks, designs, traditional songs, and similar works of authorship to enable communities to enforce their rights.
  • Procurement of legal counsel to enter into legal agreements that allow communities to keep control over the use and commercialization of their intangible and tangible cultural heritage.

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Giselle Ayala is an attorney focused on immigration, business, marketing, and artist’s transactions.

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